Publication details

A novel semi-automatic measurement of the semicircular canals of the human bony labyrinth



Year of publication 2021
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Anthropologie: International Journal of Human Diversity and Evolution
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Science

Keywords Human bony labyrinth; CT imaging; 3D digital models; Morphological variation
Description The bony labyrinth is an inner ear structure located inside the pyramid of the temporal bone. In skeletal or skeletonized human remains, the region exhibits a remarkably high resistance against a variety of taphonomic factors. A substantial amount of work has been carried out in many scientific domains assessing morphological variations of the bony labyrinth. However, the results of these studies are inconsistent with each other, so researchers remain unable to definitively confirm or reject size and shape dependencies of the bony labyrinth on factors such sex or age. Inadequate methodology and the invasiveness of existing approaches are frequently cited as reasons for these ambiguous results. This paper proposes a new semiautomatic PC-aided approach for quantifying the semicircular canals of the bony labyrinth using CT-generated three-dimensional digital models. A new measurement protocol was established on a sample of 163 bony labyrinths using a step-wise elimination procedure and semi-automatic computerassisted tools. The procedure finally selected as most effective included 39 measurements, which were employed to explore age, sex or side-to-side differences in the shape and size of the semicircular canals. The results exhibit very few sex-related and body-side-specific differences. However, statistically significant differences were observed between subadults and adults, particularly in the canal lumens of the lateral and posterior semicircular canals, where larger values were detected for the adults. This paper presents a novel innovative approach for quantifying the semicircular canals of the bony labyrinth, with the aim of regularizing the methodological pool in this line of research.
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